I've often been asked why a Festiva? That's easy to answer now after having one or more Festivas in the past ten years or so but got me to thinking of another question... why did I buy my first Festiva?

After more than twenty years with one company that provided a company vehicle I started a new job that had a 50km/30 mile round trip commute so my wife and I decided to pick up second vehicle for me to drive. The main criteria for the purchase where fairly basic: great gas mileage, fun to drive, relatively inexpensive and easy to work on. The first car we picked up was a 2nd generation VW Jetta Carat that had been properly lowered on Tokico coilovers. It turned out that this met the first two criteria but not the third. When we decided to sell that and find something else I remember reading an article in the August 1988 edition of Motor Trend magazine written by Don Fuller featuring an 88 Festiva that they tweaked just a little. My favorite quotes from that article are... "On a winding  mountain highway, it's an unqualified blast" and "There are few street cars that attack corners with more ferocity"

Our first Festiva after the crash. The back was similarly 'modified'.

The replacement not long after we bought it.

The article must of stuck because twelve years later I remembered thinking, based on that article, that the Festiva would be a fun car to have so I started looking in earnest for one. Looked at a couple of them and in early 2001 I purchased a white 92 GL Sport for about $1200. The car met all the criteria and I was hooked. I found a Yahoo group and later the forum at www.fordfestiva.com and the rest is history.

That first Festiva was written off in an accident about a year after it was purchased. We immediately started looking for another Festiva to replace it and found a red 1992 GL Sport with only 100,100km/62,200 miles on it. This was half of what our first one had on it and for a ten year old car was very low! 

Here we are twelve and a half years later and still driving the same car. Over the years it has been modified to enhance comfort, handling and performance. Here's a list of what we've done as of December 2014. Almost all of these upgrades have been financed by finding, selling and trading desirable Festiva parts to other enthusiasts.

- Mazda B6 swap (’86 block, ’88 injection) done in Sept '07
- FMS* lightweight flywheel
- FMS* clutch
- 2” custom exhaust front to back with performance muffler and Ractive stainless tip
- Modified airbox for K&N filter originally intended for Chev Beretta

- Pacesetter short shifter originally spec'd for a Ford Probe with new shifter bushings and shortened shift rod.
- rebuilt cylinder head; shaved and with mild port and polish.
- FMS* performance cam
- Motovator header

- Tein coilovers all four corners
- FMS* stainless brake lines all four corners
- Adjustable strut bar
- Replaced front suspension bushings, lower control arms etc.
- Aspire brakes all four corners
- Currently running Federal 185-60's on 13"x5" Toyota alloys originally on a Corolla GT

- Clear, flush mounted signal lights
- Kia Pride tail lights (from the UK)
- Mazda 121 grille (from Australia), head and clear corner lights (from Germany)
- High mount LED third brake light mounted inside
- Body color door handles
- “Swoopy” power mirrors.
- Stainless steel hydraulic hood strut
- Tinted rear windows
- Tint across top of windshield.
- Bosch fog lights hooked up to factory switch.
- Rear wiper modified to park horizontally at the bottom of the window rather than vertically.

- Seats from a first generation Toyota MR2
- Custom console with dual cup holders
- “Hot Wheels” floor mats
- Aftermarket steering wheel
- Custom clock install
- Tach cluster with 180 km/h speedometer (from the Philippines)
- Variable speed intermittent wipers
- Chrome interior door handles
- Chrome trim rings for window winders
- Mazda 323 rear view mirror
- Grab handles for front & rear passengers
- Factory air conditioning

- Pioneer DEH-4000USB head unit
- Cerwin Vega 5 ¼” speakers with tweeters in the doors
- JBL/Ford 6”x9” three way speakers in custom cargo cover

(*FMS refers to Festiva Motor Sports which is no longer in business)

Shot taken July 2014.
At Oregon's Umpqua Lighthouse, June 2012

December 2015: the engine died in the car so it was decided to retire it earlier that planned. Read about it in this post. Details on our 'new' car can be found on this page.


  1. Amazing! I also had a little red Festiva. They are great cars.